My buddy called yesterday and said he saw a buck rub like he's never seen -- the trunk is scratched higher than he can reach. So, today we took a hike to the place. I took along my camera and a tape measure. The tape in the picture is extended 95 inches (one inch short of 8 feet!) and is hooked on the highest mark.
It definitely looks like a buck rub, and we could see some shavings on the ground. But is there any buck that can reach 8 feet high? If this were elk country, maybe. But not a whitetail -- even if he had his front feet off the ground.
So, I looked more closely. Telling by the slivers of bark that were showing, it's clear that the scratch marks were made in a downward motion -- not like tine marks. Although there weren't many parallel scratches -- like claws beside one another would make -- I think this was made by a bear.
Why would a bear scratch a tree like that? (I think it's a striped maple.) Maybe a buck rubbed it first, which caught the bear's attention and he worked it over some more. Or, he's just doing what bears do.
It's enough to make a guy go get a bear tag. I'll be hunting deer here. (It's in NY.) Our group got one bear in this area already, and we know there are more bears here.